First Aid for Schools

Who is responsible for First Aid in Schools?

First Aid requirements for schoolsThe Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 require employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of all employees at work and others who may be affected by their undertaking, such as pupils and visitors, to identify what measures they need to take to prevent or control these risks.

Some small low-risk workplaces need to have only a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements such as calling the emergency services and stocking the first-aid box. The appointed person does not need specific first-aid training.

If your workplace has more significant health and safety risks, for example you use machinery or hazardous materials then you are more likely to need a trained first-aider.

Health and safety legislation places duties on employers for the health and safety of their employees and anyone else on the premises.Health and safety legislation places duties on employers for the health and safety of their employees and anyone else on the premises.

In schools this includes responsibility for the head teacher and teachers, non-teaching staff, pupils and visitors (including contractors). Who the employer is depends on the type of school. For example:

  • The LEA is the employer in county, controlled and special agreement schools, and in pupil referral units
  • The governing body is the employer in city technology colleges, voluntary-aided, non-maintained special, grant-maintained and grant-maintained special schools
  • The owner or the trustees are the employers in some independent schools.

The employer is responsible, under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA), for making sure that a school has a health and safety policy. This should include arrangements for first aid, based on a risk assessment of the school, and should cover:
  • Numbers of first aiders/appointed persons.
  • Numbers and locations of first-aid containers.
  • Arrangements for off-site activities/trips.
  • Out of school hours arrangements eg lettings, parents evenings.


The employer should also make sure that their insurance arrangements provide full cover for claims arising from actions of staff acting within the scope of their employment.

It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that the statutory requirements for provision of first aiders are met, that appropriate training is provided and that correct procedures are followed. The employer should be satisfied that any training has given staff sufficient understanding, confidence and expertise.

What is an appointed person?

An appointed person is someone who:

  • Takes charge when someone is injured or becomes ill.
  • Looks after the first-aid equipment eg restocking the first-aid container.
  • Ensures that an ambulance or other professional medical help is summoned when appropriate.

Appointed persons are not first aiders

They should not give first aid treatment for which they have not been trained. However, it is good practice to ensure that appointed persons have emergency first aid training/refresher training, as appropriate. These courses do not require HSE approval. They normally last four hours and cover the following topics:

  • What to do in an emergency.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • First aid for the unconscious casualty.
  • First aid for the wounded or bleeding.

First Aid for Schools – What schools need to do

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 set out what employers have to do.

Employers must provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and qualified first aid personnel.

The Regulations do not oblige employers to provide first aid for anyone other than their own staff, but employers do have health and safety responsibilities towards non-employees. The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) guidance recommends that organisations, such as schools, which provide a service for others should include them in their risk assessments and provide for them. In the light of their legal responsibilities for those in their care, schools should consider carefully the likely risks to pupils and visitors, and make allowance for them when drawing up policies and deciding on the numbers of first-aid personnel.

Where first aid is provided for staff and pupils, schools should ensure that:
  • Provision for employees does not fall below the required standard.
  • Provision for pupils and others complies with other relevant legislation and guidance.

First Aid for Schools – Qualifications and Training

A first aider must hold a valid certificate of competence, issued by an organisation whose training and qualifications are approved by the HSE. Information on local organisations offering training is available from HSE offices and from some of the organisations listed in Annex B. Local colleges may also offer first-aid training.

Training courses cover a range of first aid competences. However, standard first aid at work training courses do not include resuscitation procedures for children. The employer should arrange appropriate training for their first-aid personnel. Training organisations will often tailor courses specifically to schools’ needs. It is helpful to let the training organisation know in advance of any particular areas that should be covered.

Training courses cover a range of first aid competences. However, standard first aid at work training courses do not include resuscitation procedures for children.

First aid at work certificates are only valid for three years. Employers should arrange refresher training and retesting of competence before certificates expire. If a certificate expires, the individual will have to undertake another full course of training to become a first aider. However, employers can arrange for first aiders to attend a refresher course up to three months before the expiry date of their certificate. The new certificate takes effect from the date of expiry. Schools should keep a record of first aiders and certification dates.

More than 130 youngsters at three schools in Liverpool, including King David High School – where 12-year-old Oliver was a pupil – were shown how to treat people in case of a medical emergency.

The training was arranged in memory of Oliver, who died in March 2011 while swimming in the pool at the school.

The sports-mad youngster was struck down by Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), which tends to affect healthy young people.

Statistics show that if a parent or a relative has a collapse or takes ill having someone around who has first-aid training greatly improves their chance of survival.

For more information on our first aid for schools training courses offered by Liverpool Training Solutions and how we can help you find the right training courses for your business please email us. Or alternatively, call us on 0151 515 0416 and speak with one of our training Consultants.

For more information on First aid for schools

First Aid for Schools – Department of Education guidelines covering First Aid in Schools

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance for First Aid at Work requirements for schools, academies, free schools and independent schools.